Belize is a small country in Central America, and borders Mexico and Guatemala. Its history goes back to the ancient Mayan civilization that stretched across much of Central America. Following that, its history was characterized by Spanish colonialism and using the country for logging until the British took over. The country gained independence from the British in 1981, but it is still under the Commonwealth. Belize has a rich ethnic and cultural make-up. Spanish and English are spoken, along with many local languages. Some ethnic groups include Mestizo, Creole, Ketchi, Yucatec and Mopan Mayans. There are also random minorities like Dutch Mennonites, Germans and Arabs, so it would be an interesting place to relocate.
In order to enter Belize, everyone is required to present a valid passport. Citizens of the British Commonwealth (excluding India), the US, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica and the European Community do not require a visa to enter Belize.
Click here for more information about visas and entry requirements.
When you enter Belize, you are issued a 30-day visa. For the first six months, you can renew this just by paying appropriate fees at any immigration office. You are required to prove your funds for your stay in Belize. You can work but must leave the country after six months and enter again. If you want to stay and get a work permit, see below. There are different fees you must pay for residence, depending on your country of origin.
You can apply for Belizean nationality after living and working in Belize for five years.
There are two types of work permits in Belize.
The first is for a foreign citizen to work in Belize. To do this, you must be a legal resident who has been in Belize for six months. You also must present the proper visas or work permits issued by the Immigration Department. Your job must be advertised for three weeks before you can legally take it. Following this, your prospective employer must begin your application process, and that includes three of your passport photographs, a valid passport, and proof that you are qualified for the job. In order for this to pass, the Labor Department representatives must be convinced that nobody in Belize could fill your position.
The second type of work permit is an application for temporary self-employment, such as foreign investors. You must reside legally in Belize, and be able to present all proper visas and permits from the Immigration Department. You must be able to show that you have enough money to fund whatever project or investment you have in mind, such as by presenting a bank account statement. You must get a reference from the relevant Ministry or Local Organization. If you get a reference and can prove that your investment is going to create jobs and/or stimulate the local economy, then the six-month requirement will be waved.
There are different fees for work permits, but their amounts depend on your occupation.
There is no fee for a student permit if you provide a letter of admission from an accredited university. See above for residency requirements.
Click here for information about study abroad in Belize.
You are allowed to bring dogs and cats into Belize without quarantine. You must present a valid certificate from a vet that your pet is in good health, and free from infectious diseases. You must have a valid import permit, international veterinary certificate, a valid rabies vaccination certificate, and proof that your pet has been inspected by a quarantine officer. To get an import permit, you should contact the Belize Agricultural Health Authority. You must pay fees to import your animal.
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Click here for information on money in Belize.
Click here for a directory of cities and towns in Belize.